Like most difficult questions, there’s no easy answer when asking “Should I call him?” That’s because there is a long list of questions you have to ask first, like how long ago you met and what kind of signals he’s sending. Keep in mind that men can be strange creatures, so these rules of thumb won’t necessarily apply universally. However, they’re also a lot simpler than you think.
If you find yourself agonizing over pressing that green button, here are a few things you might want to consider first.
WHEN AND HOW SHOULD YOU CONTACT A NEW GUY?
Situation: You met your dream guy at the bar last night, and after picking up both of your drink tabs, he gives you his number. When should you call him?
Solution: The morning-after hangover might have you dying for a distraction, but don’t be too hasty. Ideally, you should follow the two-day rule. If you met him on Friday night, call him on a lazy Sunday evening. Or better yet, stick to texts and just ask him about his weekend. This shows him that you’re interested, while also giving you a little peek at his lifestyle. Remember that he made the first move in this instance by giving you his phone number, so it’s your turn to contact him to keep everything balanced.
The best way to talk to him is to bring up something in your day that reminded you of him. For example, if he was teasing you about having never eaten a cheesesteak, you can send him a cute, funny text telling him you finally met this milestone.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CALL HIM AFTER THE FIRST DATE?
So, you had an awesome first date and you’re already planning your wedding in your head…but you don’t want him to know that!
Early on in the relationship, you have to be somewhat calculating when it comes to move-making. If he asked you out on the first date, you have a little more leverage in contacting him to initiate a second. But if you initiated the first date, let him get a chance to be assertive and ask you for the second, especially if you’ve already had sex. Of course, you want to show that you’re interested, but stick to the tried-and-true three-day rule before giving him a ring.
Once you get past the question of “Should I call him?, you can move on to more important matters, like the subject of your conversation and how to subtly approach the concept of a second date.
SHOULD YOU CALL HIM IF YOU GOT HIS NUMBER FROM A FRIEND?
There are very few circumstances in which getting a guy’s number from a friend is not creepy.
- You need to discuss a completely casual issue that concerns you both. (i.e. He’s a co-worker and you’re both working on a big project together).
- He told his friend to give you his number.
Aside from that, the only acceptable form of contacting a guy when he hasn’t given you his contact information in person is through social media. Ideally something casual like Instagram. However, the degrees of acceptability in terms of connecting on social media are ranked in the following order.
Once you make an initial, casual contact, wait for his next move to proceed.
WHAT IF WE GOT IN A BIG FIGHT? SHOULD I CALL HIM FIRST?
Couples need space from time to time—especially after a big argument. Give yourself at least a full day to cool off, but don’t just spend it brooding and closing yourself off. Instead, meet up with a girlfriend for sushi, cocktails, and venting. Or just focus on some other light-hearted activity to clear your mind and raise your spirits. If you need to blow off some steam, go to the gym—bonus: this will also give you a major confidence boost.
The 24-hour rule applies no matter who was at fault in the fight. However, if he was clearly at fault, you should wait for him to contact you first. Usually, fault can be attributed to both sides. In which case, you should call him (if he doesn’t call you first) in about two days.
HE BROKE UP WITH ME. SHOULD I CALL HIM EVER AGAIN?
This is a tough one because simply not calling the person who broke your heart is much easier said than done. Our significant others often become our best friends, which makes it even more difficult to completely break things off. It’s tempting to fall back into old habits and have breakup sex.
The best solution to this problem is to open a document (or just use an old-school notebook) titled “Things I Want to Say to Him” and write down everything that you would say in a phone call or text message. This allows you to get everything out of your system without setting yourself up for regret. When you go back to read the document or entry later—in a different state of mind, perhaps—you’ll find that you no longer even mean the things you said and will probably be relieved that you never went through with it.
Although following these rules will often put you in the best position of a happy and healthy relationship, they aren’t entirely fool-proof. This means that in some cases, you have to trust your own judgment. Especially in cases where the relationship is starting to become more serious, it’s important to be honest with your partner and address your needs and expectations from the relationship.
For example, if you’re always the one that ends up calling him after you both have a fight or texting him first, that’s not okay. He may not even be aware that his communication skills are lacking, since this is a pretty typical problem with men, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. Make sure he knows that you expect him to express his feelings to you more often, so you can have that reassurance.